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Vanessa Romo

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.

Before her stint on the News Desk, Romo spent the early months of the Trump Administration on the Washington Desk covering stories about culture and politics – the voting habits of the post-millennial generation, the rise of Maxine Waters as a septuagenarian pop culture icon and DACA quinceañeras as Trump protests.

In 2016, she was at the core of the team that launched and produced The New York Times' first political podcast, The Run-Up with Michael Barbaro. Prior to that, Romo was a Spencer Education Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism where she began working on a radio documentary about a pilot program in Los Angeles teaching black and Latino students to code switch.

Romo has also traveled extensively through the Member station world in California and Washington. As the education reporter at Southern California Public Radio, she covered the region's K-12 school districts and higher education institutions and won the Education Writers Association first place award as well as a Regional Edward R. Murrow for Hard News Reporting.

Before that, she covered business and labor for Member station KNKX, keeping an eye on global companies including Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks and Microsoft.

A Los Angeles native, she is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where she received a degree in history. She also earned a master's degree in Journalism from NYU. She loves all things camaron-based.

The U.S. State Department is warning Americans not to travel to five Mexican states, issuing a "do not travel" advisory.

"Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread," the State Department said in the notice Thursday.

Updated at 8:11 p.m. ET

Officials have released the identities of 17 people killed in Tuesday's Santa Barbara, Calif., mudslides, as workers continue search and rescue efforts for victims caught in the deluge that swamped houses, crumpled cars and sent boulders careening through streets.

It's summer in Australia and extreme heat is causing bats' brains to fry.

Hundreds of fur-covered flying fox bats, which lack sufficient canopy cover and shade in Australia's suburbs, died outside Sydney over the weekend as temperatures soared to 117 degrees F, the hottest it's been since 1939.

The New Jersey Department of Corrections has lifted a ban on a book that links racial discrimination and mass incarceration after the ACLU called the prohibition unconstitutional and demanded the department reverse its position.

Inmates at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton and Southern State Correctional Facility in Delmont were barred from reading Michelle Alexander's 2010 book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The ACLU New Jersey chapter made the discovery as a result of a public records request.

Planning a wedding in fairy tales is bibbidi-bobbidi-boo easy but in today's England, where Prince Harry plans to marry American former-actress-because-she's soon-to-become-a-duchess, Meghan Markle, the to-do list is a lot more complicated. And for some officials, it should include moving the homeless out of sight and getting rid of street beggars.

Alex Kozinski, a distinguished federal appeals court judge, announced his retirement Monday, effective immediately, after sexual misconduct allegations continued to dog the once-respected justice.

In a statement released by his attorney, the 67-year-old Kozinski partially apologized for his behavior but also tried to frame parts of it as a misunderstanding.

It was a north versus south battle of the vice presidents.

Vice President Mike Pence and former Vice President Joe Biden hit the campaign trail Saturday on behalf of their respective party's candidates in the heated gubernatorial contest in Virginia.

Updated 6:20 a.m. ET Monday

In the Somali capital of Mogadishu, funerals have begun for those killed in Saturday's truck bombing. Officials have cautioned that the death would continue to rise from the nation's worst-ever attack.

The government's latest figures show more than 300 people were killed and another 300 others wounded in the explosion. The Associated Press reports that overwhelmed hospitals in Mogadishu are struggling to assist other badly wounded victims, many burned beyond recognition.

Updated Monday 8:20 a.m. ET

President Trump on Monday defended Vice President Mike Pence's decision to walk out of Sunday's NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers in Indianapolis.

Another Sunday, another Trump Twitter war.

This time, President Trump, who is spending the day at his golf course in Virginia, took aim at retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

And Corker fired back.

"It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center," Corker wrote. "Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."

High-profile lawyer Lisa Bloom has resigned from advising Hollywood studio head Harvey Weinstein, who was recently accused of sexually harassing female employees for decades.

Bloom announced her departure over Twitter on Saturday afternoon, writing, "I have resigned as an advisor to Harvey Weinstein. My understanding is that Mr. Weinstein and his board are moving toward an agreement."

Monopoly Man became the Internet crush of the day on Wednesday, after upstaging former Equifax CEO Richard Smith at a Senate hearing on the company's massive data breach.

The board game character, whose name is Rich Uncle Pennybags, was brought to life by Amanda Werner, an arbitration campaign manager for Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform, groups that advocate for consumer rights and protections.

Almost immediately, the monocle, mustache, top hat, pillowcase-sized bag of (#fake) Benjamins became a social media sensation.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Updated at 5 p.m. ET Sunday

Editor's note: This story contains language that some might find offensive.

Dozens of activists have been on the move through rain and sunshine, taking part in a 10-day protest called The March to Confront White Supremacy. The roughly 118-mile walk began in Charlottesville, Va., and culminates in a rally in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Updated at 3:57 p.m. ET

The Trump administration Tuesday formally announced it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — also called DACA — putting an expiration date on the legal protections granted to roughly 800,000 people known as "DREAMers," who entered the country illegally as children.

President Trump issued a statement, saying, "I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws."

There are no cardboard boxes or bubble wrap or heavy duty packing tape in Tim Stokes' 1,600-square-foot Sacramento, Calif., home. But, according to the 36-year-old, he and his pregnant wife, their three kids and their two 100-pound mastiffs are on the verge of selling the house they bought just over a year ago.

The vicious shade-throwing by the Treasury secretary's wife, Louise Linton, Monday was intended to put an Instagram commenter on blast, but it almost immediately blew up in the Scottish-born actress' perfectly made-up face.

Now, nearly a full day later, the 36-year-old has apologized through a spokesperson.

Hope Hicks, one of President Trump's rarely seen but longest-serving aides, has been named interim White House communications director, filling the position left vacant by Anthony Scaramucci after his 10-day tenure.

Hicks will work alongside press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders until a permanent replacement is found, the White House said. She has been serving as director of strategic communications.

"We will make an announcement on a permanent communications director at the appropriate time," a White House official said.

No, it was not a dream. There really was a 30-foot inflatable chicken behind the White House on Wednesday.

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Dear America,

Say hello to my new friend Frank. He's an eleven-year-old biz whiz kid whose career in landscaping is about to take off.

American first ladies have made a tradition of visiting children in hospitals, and on Thursday Melania Trump continued that custom in Paris.

On her first full day in the French capital, the first lady ventured out without the president by her side, spending the morning with a small group of children at Necker Hospital. It is the biggest pediatric hospital in Paris.

The FBI In Pop Culture

Jul 12, 2017

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If confirmed, Christopher Wray will head an agency that the public knows through popular culture. NPR's Vanessa Romo reports on the FBI in TV and movies.

VANESSA ROMO, BYLINE: There's an image that comes to mind when you think about the FBI lawman. And it's this guy.

Ivanka Trump is a lot of things: a mother, a wife, an entrepreneur, an Instagram goddess and a first daughter. But there is one thing she recently said she is not:

"I don't profess to be a political savant," she confessed to Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt in an interview.

"I try to stay out of politics," she said in a measured, half whisper.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Moments into his highly anticipated on-camera briefing Wednesday — the first after a seven-day absence — Trump press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the persistent rumor that he will soon transition into a new role within the White House communications team — one that removes him from the spotlight and into a less visible position.

He opted for an indirect response to a very direct question: "I'm still here."

Conservatives won't have Julius Caesar to kick around anymore.

The latest production in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park series is closing Sunday — presumably bringing an end to demonstrations outside of the Delacorte Theater but unlikely to quell the raging debates over exactly whom is entitled to free speech, under what circumstances and over the limits of artistic expression. Those debates are not likely to subside, especially as the appetite for creative works tackling an array of political themes continues to grow.

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